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Job counter offers

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Author: Roland Coombes

Roland Coombes is a veteran recruitment consultant, highly accomplished careers expert, and master resume writer with over 25 years of industry experience.

The Job Counter Offer

Are you considering handing in your notice? Are you prepared for a counteroffer? If so, this guide is for you.

Picture this…

You’ve finally mustered the courage to tender your resignation, armed with the certainty that the grass is, indeed, greener on the other side. What’s more, you’ve got a firm offer from a new firm. But your boss calls you into their office for a chat.

“Hey there, champ,” they say, with a smile that could charm the pants off a cactus. The puppy eyes come out and then the pick & mix of statements:

“I’m really surprised. I thought you were as happy with us as we were with you. Let’s discuss it more before you make your final decision.”

“I’ve been meaning to tell you about the great plans the company has for you but it’s been confidential until now.”

“The Vice President has you in mind for some exciting and expanding responsibilities.”

“Your raise was scheduled to go into effect next quarter, but we’ll make it effective immediately.”

And then, cue the music, balloons, lots of cheesy smiling faces. They unveil the counteroffer – a shiny new title, a modest bump in salary, and the promise of a golden future filled with rainbows and leprechauns.

But are all these promises enough to sway the individual?

Surprisingly enough, for a number of employers, it actually is. The thoughts of leaving to pastures new soon turn to a feeling of guilt and remorse, and then a sense of reward knowing that your company has finally acknowledged your worth and will never neglect you in the future.

But alas, through many years of experience, it is safe to advise that a counteroffer by an employer should be treated with caution. And interestingly, in only rare cases does the counteroffer actually benefit the employee.

Yet, most counteroffers appear to be that “rare case”.

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Consider the problem in its proper perspective

You need to consider why you wanted to leave in the first place. Was it the soul-crushing monotony of your daily tasks? The toxic work environment that makes Chernobyl look like a spa retreat. Accepting a counteroffer might plaster over these issues temporarily, but they’ll likely resurface like a stubborn case of déjà vu.

Next, ascertain just how genuine the offer is. 

What really goes through a boss’s mind when someone quits?

– This couldn’t be happening at a worse time.

– This is one of my best people. If I let him quit now, it will hurt the morale of the department.

– I’ve already got one opening in my department. I don’t need another one now.

– If I lose another good employee, it’s going to make me look like a poor manager.

– Maybe I can keep him until I can find a suitable replacement.

When someone quits, it is often looked upon as a direct reflection on the boss. Unless you’re really incompetent or a disruptive influence in the department, the boss might look “bad” by “allowing” you to leave.

Their first reaction will be to try to do whatever has to be done to keep you from leaving until he is ready.

Unfortunately, it is also human nature to want to stay unless your work life is completely intolerable. Career change, like all ventures into the unknown, can be a difficult decision.

So, before you succumb to a tempting counteroffer, consider these universal truths:

1) Counteroffers are usually nothing more than stall tactics to give your employer more time to assess the situation.

2) Any situation in which an employee is forced to get an outside offer before the present employer will suggest a raise, promotion, or better working conditions is suspect.

3) No matter what the company says when making the counteroffer, you will always be considered a fidelity risk since you have already demonstrated your lack of loyalty to the company and will lose your status as a “team player.”

4) Your reasons for leaving still exist. Conditions are made a bit more tolerable in the short term because of the raise, promotion, or promises made to keep you.

5) Counteroffers are only made in response to a threat to quit. Will you have to solicit an offer and threaten to quit every time you deserve better working conditions or a raise?


If the urge to accept a counteroffer hits you, keep cleaning out your desk as you count your blessings. Satisfaction will only be short-lived, and you will once again be faced with the situation that caused you to seek an outside offer in the first place.



Keep a copy of your resume and achievements for reflection. Does the offer reflect who you are? Seek advice from friends and family. DONT make any immediate decessions. Take time off to reflect.

Need help navigating a counter offer? Speak with our career experts today,




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